Data centre resilience under threat amid spike in energy demand

Data centre resilience is under threat, with questions over the ability of local power grids to meet energy demand amid a steep rise in the volume of data produced each year, according to a new report from Aggreko.

Based on a poll of 700 data centre consultants across Western Europe, the report states that more than half (55 percent) harbor concerns about the capabilities of local energy infrastructure to support data centres.

Most professionals surveyed also cited grid limitations as the number one cause of power outages in their region, jeopardizing the various critical services underpinned by the world’s data centres.

In a bid to address this fundamental issue, as well as the industry’s ever-increasing carbon footprint, the data centre sector is looking towards renewable energy as a potential solution. 

The form of renewable energy gaining the most traction in the industry is solar power – with 70 percent of respondents observing increased adoption of the technology – followed by wind (65 percent) and battery storage (63 percent).

Overall, industry professionals expect 40 percent of data centre energy usage to come from renewable energy sources within the next five years, improving resilience (with the help of back-up power) and lowering emissions.

While the shift towards renewable energy infrastructure appears to be gathering momentum, implementation is not straightforward and a number of challenges stand in the way.

More than half (54 percent) identified energy storage as a key barrier to deploying sustainable solutions, while others found efforts inhibited by changing technology (51 percent), cost (45 percent) and a lack of skills (42 percent).

“As our reliance on data increases, the challenges facing hyperscale, colocation and edge data centres also increases, with a pressing need to future-proof both planned and existing facilities,” claims the report.

“Without new thinking and new technology, the resilience and impact of data centres, so central to modern life, will only be brought further under the spotlight.”

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